These summer bourbon cocktails are bubbly, fruity, and light: just what you need for the season! Try the smash, mule, highball, and more.
Got bourbon? So many bourbon drinks feel best suited for fall or winter, like the boozy Old Fashioned or Sazerac. But there’s a whole collection of drinks are light and refreshing. Meet our top summer bourbon cocktails: bubbly, fruity, carefree and perfect for the season! Try the minty smash, a bubbly highball, or a zingy bourbon lemonade. There’s something for everyone!
Our top summer bourbon cocktail? Bourbon lemonade! This refreshing summer cocktail is great for beating the heat. Make up a big pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade, refreshing and sweet tart. Then swirl it with some bourbon in a glass so you get all that boozy, spicy finish to each sip.
Swap vodka for bourbon in a Moscow mule and you’ve got the Kentucky mule! It’s bubbly, bright and bold: with zingy lime and a spicy whiskey finish. Even better: it’s so easy to make! There’s no shaking or stirring required: just pour it all into the glass. It’s easy for parties or a summer evening on the porch.
Need a refreshing, fruity bourbon drink? Meet the blackberry bourbon smash! It’s tangy from lime juice, lightly sweet from the berries and a bit of maple syrup, and boozy from the bourbon. Add a splash of soda water and it rounds out the flavor, then serve with crushed ice! It’s so tasty and lighter than so many bourbon cocktails.
The Bourbon Sour is one of the best known bourbon cocktails there is, and it works in any season: especially summer! Also known as the Whiskey Sour, it's balanced and sweet tart, complementing bourbon with the acidity of lemon and the sweetness of simple syrup. This version uses maple syrup to add a nuanced flavor. Add an egg white foam topping to make a Boston Sour.
Arguably the most unique classic summer bourbon cocktail is the Brown Derby! This 1930’s retro drink is a tasty bourbon cocktail that tones down spicy whiskey with sweet grapefruit juice. It uses honey syrup instead of the traditional simple syrup, which adds complexity and mellow undertones.
Here’s a fun bourbon drink that’s a spin on a classic: the John Collins cocktail! Where the Tom Collins stars gin and lemon juice, the John Collins swaps in bourbon whiskey. In fact, it’s essentially a sparkling whiskey sour, served up with soda water in a highball glass!
If you’re an avid homemade cocktail drinker, then here’s a must-make bourbon cocktail: the Paper Plane! This one is a brilliant study in balance and contrast. It’s bitter, sweet and tangy all at once, hitting a magical synergy between the bourbon and amaro. It’s truly remarkable.
Here’s a classic combination that makes one of the easiest cocktails…ever. The Bourbon Ginger! Whiskey and ginger ale are the perfect pair: the spicy notes of the liquor meld into the subtle sweet and bubbly notes of the ale. Add a squeeze of lime and a big ice cube, and you’re in business!
This classy cocktail has a retro name and a sweet tart flavor: it’s the Gold Rush! The name makes it sounds like a 1920’s mixed drink, but it’s actually a modern take on the classic whiskey sour. If you’re a lover of bourbon drinks, add this one to your “to do” list. The combination of the zing of the lemon, the nuance of the honey, and the spicy whiskey finish is perfection.
Highballs are perfect for summer! These tall, bubbly drinks are ideal to beat the heat. This two-ingredient cocktail originated around the turn of the 20th century and it’s still popular to this day. It’s so easy to make: no cocktail shakers or fancy ingredients required! It’s an intriguing way to enjoy the flavors in a sip of bourbon.
This maple bourbon smash is the perfect summer bourbon cocktail! It’s perfectly tart and just sweet enough, with a back-end hint of spirits. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and there’s a bit of herbaceous mint, too! It’s like a citrus spin on the classic Mint Julep!
Last up in our summer bourbon cocktails? Try this Bourbon Sidecar! Swap out the brandy for bourbon in this classic cocktail, and you’ve got a whole new drink! This one trades the fruitiness of brandy for the spicy sweet finish of bourbon whiskey.
More with bourbon
Want more with bourbon? Here are a few recipe collections that fit any occasion, and some information about this popular spirit: